Being a student in the Department of Mathematics
The Department of Mathematics at King's offers a variety of full-time BSc and MSci degrees which are designed not only to teach mathematics to a high standard, but also to provide transferable skills, giving you a head start in your career. At King's this subject is explored through a range of modules taught by renowned experts.
The Department of Mathematics at King's is acknowledged to be a leading centre of research, with 65 per cent of research classed as world-leading or internationally excellent in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.
Studying in the Department of Mathematics will lead you to acquire new skills and new ways of thinking and reasoning, as well as grounding you in the necessary specialist subject knowledge with associated enquiry and research skills. As with learning any new skill you would not expect to get very far just listening to lectures. The same is true of mathematics: the ONLY way to learn is by participating and practice, practice and more practice. These skills and ways of thinking are not something you can just get from others, or just from reading books.
Here in the Mathematics Department we don't just teach you things; we teach you how to think about those things - you get an education as well as a degree.
Undergraduate teaching and assessment
Making the transition from school to university involves managing your time effectively so that you are able to prepare thoroughly for your classes and then devote the necessary time to your coursework and examinations. At university you are expected to take control of your own learning. The hours that you spend studying independently are vital to acquiring the new skills needed (e.g. computer programming, mathematical analysis, logical reasoning) to get the most out of your degree programme. These skills are fundamental to enabling you to emerge from university as an expert in your field with the best possible degree.
There is usually a slight reduction in scheduled teaching time in the later years of your degree. This reflects the higher level of support given to you in your first year to help make the transition from school to university easier, and that you are expected to undertake more independent work, particularly project work, as you progress.
In Mathematics, in addition to your timetabled classes, there are optional walk-in and pop-in tutorials available during your first year. These are an informal way to get extra help with any aspect of a module or assignment that you find difficult.
Mathematics modules at King’s, in common with similar programmes at many other universities, are mainly assessed by written examinations either in the form of class tests during the semester or a final exam at the end of the year. This is because written exams are regarded as the most reliable method to assess the maths you have learnt over the year. The modules you take in the first year have weekly problem sheets or assignments that you work on independently; these don’t count towards the final module mark but are there for you to practice the skills you have been taught in lectures, to help you learn more about that week’s topic and to check if you have understood it.
What is preparation?
What will I achieve through preparation?
- Preparation is the necessary work that you do in advance of each of your classes. It will involve a range of activities, depending on your subject (e.g. doing set work for a class, engaging with set questions for a tutorial or re-reading your notes from the previous lecture).
When is preparation important?
- Preparing thoroughly for tutorials and seminars enables you to gain the maximum profit from the hours that you spend in class with your fellow students and your lecturers/teaching assistants.
- Preparation gives you the ability to engage fully with lectures and to participate confidently in seminars and tutorials.
- It also enables you to articulate further questions to enhance your learning.
- It is important to prepare prior to each class for each module on a weekly basis to derive the full benefit from the time you spend in class.
What is independent learning?
What will I achieve from independent learning?
- Independent learning is the work that you do outside of class in order to fully understand the topics you encounter, to practice the new skills and new ways of thinking you are learning and to broaden your engagement with your subject area.
- It can involve reading articles or chapters, working through problems set in the lecture, undertaking assigned lab exercises, doing additional exercises and seeking out further sources relevant to your topic of study.
- It helps you to absorb what you have learnt in lectures and tutorials and to pose your own questions about what you are studying in an informed way.
- You cannot acquire these new skills and ways of thinking without practice – in tutorials or lab sessions, on your own at home, and alongside your fellow students.
When is independent learning important?
- You will achieve a deeper understanding of a topic, which is essential to success inphysics
- You will acquire the essential new skills and ways of thinking that form part of your discipline
- You will acquire valuable skills in research, which will prepare you for independent study projects.
- You will be able to work through complex issues critically and achieve a greater appreciation of your topic of study.
- You can only acquire new skills through practice.
- Independent learning is crucial to being able to keep up with the lectures as they progress each week
- It will enable you to complete coursework and assignments throughout your degree course.
- It is necessary when revising for examinations.
- It is more broadly important in giving you the confidence to participate within class and to get the most out of each module you take.
Teaching and resources
How will I study?
Where will I study?
- By attending classes, and using the guidance and knowledge you acquire on a cumulative basis throughout your modules in your degree course.
- By undertaking the exercises given to you in lectures, tutorials and lab sessions.
- By undertaking your own exercises in addition to those assigned to you.
- By discussing the exercises with your fellow students, your lab demonstrators and tutorial assistants.
- Through consultation with and feedback and support from your tutors.
- By paying attention to feedback in tutorial sessions, in lectures, and on your coursework.
- By engaging with KEATS (e-learning platform), as required, in your modules.
- By acquainting yourself with the resources at your disposal for your particular subject area.
There is a range of resources available to you on campus and in the local area to support your study:
- in labs and teaching rooms within departments;
- in Student Computing rooms and Student Common rooms;
- in Maughan Library;
- in Senate House Library;
- in subject-specific libraries.